HABS, HAER & State Level Documentation
Regulatory agencies often require formal documentation of historic buildings and structures as part of the mitigation strategy for a project’s unavoidable adverse impacts. The level of documentation varies depending on the project, the state, and the resource itself. Our historians prepare written, photographic, and graphic documentation of historic buildings, engineering features, and landscapes to a variety of federal and state standards.
State-level documentation, of varying format, is most common, and ranges from preparation of architectural forms to stand-alone archival documents. In addition to hundreds of state-level recordations, AHS has prepared comprehensive Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) documentations for resources across southern New England. HAER documentation is now reserved for structures of national significance.
AHS’s documentation work is known for its quality and thoroughness. Our HABS and HAER forms have been used as model examples by the National Park Service.
Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)
Simonds Manufacturing Company
AHS staff documented the former Simonds Manufacturing Company complex to HABS standards, prior to its demolition. The factory was significant for its association with the industrial development of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, which was a thriving manufacturing center in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The company produced a wide range of goods, including textiles, paper, and metal products.
Other HABS Project Examples
Putnam Manufacturing Company Workers’ Houses
AHS staff prepared HABS documentation of workers’ houses associated with the Putnam Manufacturing Company in Putnam, Connecticut.
AHS prepared HABS documentation of the Terryville Homestead in Bristol, Connecticut, one of the town’s few surviving 18th-century houses.
Historic American Engineering Record (HAER)
Norwalk River Railroad Bridge
AHS staff prepared HAER documentation for the 1896 Norwalk River Railroad bridge in Norwalk, Connecticut. It is the oldest remaining movable bridge on the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad’s most important route—the line between New York City and New Haven, Connecticut. It is the only four-track swing bridge and the oldest remaining movable bridge on the line.
Other HAER Project Examples
Norwich Water Power Company
The City of Norwich, Connecticut’s municipal electric company contracted with AHS to prepare HAER documentation of industrial and waterpower components at its Greenville hydroelectric facilities.
Naugatuck Rubber Factories Complex
In Naugatuck, Connecticut, AHS staff completed HAER documentation of dozens of buildings in the Naugatuck Rubber Factories Complex, one of the oldest and largest rubber factories in the world.
HAER Documentation of Connecticut Historic Bridges
AHS staff has recorded many historic bridges in Connecticut to the standards of the Historic American Engineering Record.
“Tommy Gun” submachine guns were manufactured in vernacular factory buildings in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Auto-Ordnance Company’s gun was the invention of Brigadier General John T. Thompson, from whom the weapon derived its moniker. Favored by police and gangsters alike in the Prohibition Era, Tommy Guns were actually developed for trench warfare in World War I, but that war ended before the production stage was reached. The weapon played a critical role in World War II, however, and was used in Europe, North Africa, and Asia.
Other State-Level Documentation Project Examples
Housatonic Rail Line
AHS inventoried and documented historic bridges along one of Connecticut's oldest rail lines in New Milford, Kent, and Canaan, Connecticut.
This 601-acre property in Morris, Connecticut, was acquired by the State of Connecticut in 2000. Camp Columbia, founded by Columbia University, was the first U.S. camp established for the purpose of training students in engineering survey techniques.
New Bedford State Pier
When it was built, the New Bedford State Pier was a representative example of early 20th-century pier engineering as well as an example of the Commonwealth’s investment in municipal economic development through improved water transportation. AHS documented the State Pier and evaluated its eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places.
Rosette Street Houses
CTDOT’s reconstruction of the New Haven Rail Yard required the demolition of Victorian houses on Rosette Street. AHS documented each house that was a contributing resource within a district listed in the National Register of Historic Places.